Often, those who struggle with their mental health have a much harder time in the winter. This season can be beautiful and peaceful. Some people love the scenery during this time of year.
But colder days and fewer hours of sunlight can be difficult to endure for months at a time. Even if you’ve never experienced depression, winter can still bring on a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. If you develop this disorder, you may feel your world darkening as the days grow colder. As a result, you may find it challenging to rise each morning and go about your daily routine. If you suspect you or someone you love feels unusually blue when the winter winds come around, speak with a mental health professional at Memphis Recovery Centers regarding seasonal affective disorder.
Mental Health Symptoms of SAD
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder mimic the symptoms of clinical depression except for one factor – they’re typically induced by a change in the seasons. Not surprisingly, signs and symptoms of this condition include:
- Feeling chronically tired
- Experiencing overwhelming feelings of sadness, all day, every day.
- Having feelings of hopelessness
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Entertaining suicidal thoughts
These are all symptoms of clinical depression, as well. However, if you’re suffering from SAD, these symptoms come and go in cycles. Usually, they begin in late summer or early fall and worsen through winter. For some, they worsen in summer and ease up when the days grow colder. Therefore, if your depression seems linked to seasonal change, talk to your doctor regarding treatment for SAD.
Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Doctors link SAD to several factors that include your circadian rhythm, where you live, and reduced hours of sunlight.
For instance, your circadian rhythm describes how your body regulates sleep and wakefulness. In some, it’s heavily affected by Daylight Savings Time. Darkness falls earlier, which confuses your biological clock, resulting in sleep disturbances that can make you feel tired and depleted.
Additionally, if you live further from the equator, you may be more likely to feel the effects of SAD, as reduced hours of sunlight cause your serotonin and melatonin levels to drop below normal.
While SAD may affect your desire to sleep, eat, and go about your day, it’s essentially a mental health disorder that’s highly treatable with the right help.
Treatment for Depression Caused by SAD
Treatment for seasonal affective disorder often involves phototherapy, which is also known as light therapy. This exposure to artificial light mimics the sun and affects your mental health the same as sunlight.
Psychotherapy is a second treatment your doctor may recommend to help cure your seasonal depression. In general, psychotherapy is a technical way of describing talk therapy. You share your feelings with a licensed mental health provider, who then helps you find ways of changing negative thoughts into more positive ones.
In more severe instances, your doctor may prescribe medicines known as antidepressants to ease the mental anguish of seasonal depression. As a result, feelings of sadness may lessen. You may find it easier to go about your day without experiencing crippling feelings of hopelessness.
Contact Memphis Recovery Center Today for Help with SAD
If you suspect that you or your loved one has seasonal affective disorder, reach out to a mental health treatment center, such as Memphis Recovery Center. Our mental health treatment center can help you manage the symptoms of SAD and the feelings and emotional mood swings that accompany it.
You don’t have to live with SAD. Treatment is available, and help is nearby. However, you must take that first step in reaching out, contact us at 866.304.8254, or contact us online. From there, your life will become more manageable.